Each member of the family had their own special reason to look forward to life down under. For our youngest son, the big attraction was the chance to learn to ride horses.
He’s been asking for a few years now, but both the weather and the language proved to be barriers in Denmark. “When we get to Australia, you can start,” we’d said. This week, we made good on our promise.
A quick Google search told us that Gooromon Park Horse Riding Centre was just a 10 minute drive north of our house – this is one of the great things about Canberra, although we live in the nation’s capital, we’re never far from open country, and when Australia does open country, it does it spectacularly.
We delivered our budding rider to the riding school’s office as requested, 15 minutes before his lesson. There, after our son was acquainted with all the rules of a stable yard (no running, no shouting, no sudden movements, lest he should scare the horses), he was kitted out with suitable boots and was greeted by his instructor.
Gooromon Park really is blessed by its setting, and as his lesson began, the sun set behind the hills that surround Canberra and we really did feel like specks on the surface of this big country. The pony kicked up dust, our son grasped the rudimentaries of rising trot, and the Yass Valley spread out before us as if to say: “This is what you came all this way for, isn’t it?”It’s certainly what our boy came all this way for. He showed promise, but I know that it takes years to make a good rider. More importantly, he wants to go back. It also takes resilience to make a good rider, so that’s an encouraging sign.
Somehow, the promise of ‘learning to ride’ has been morphed into the promise of ‘I can have a pony when we get to Australia’. We never said that really, but as I watched him trotting around, doing balancing exercises, with a grin on his face so wide it revealed his missing front teeth, I thought to myself: ‘One day. Maybe one day.” Because that’s what he came for, and we should all try to get what we came for out of this adventure.